U.S. red meat production down two years in a row

U.S. red meat production declined in 2023, down for the second consecutive year.

The USDA says production of 54.538 billion pounds was down 2% from 2022, which was 1% less than the all-time high set in 2021.

For 2023, beef production was 27.033 billion pounds, a decrease of 5% on the year, with the commercial slaughter down 4% to 32.8 million head due to tighter numbers and the average live weight losing four pounds to 1,365 pounds.

That smaller cattle slaughter included year-to-year declines for steers, bulls, heifers, and other types of cows, while the dairy cow slaughter was larger than the previous year.

Pork production was 27.318 billion pounds, up 1%, as a 2% gain in the annual slaughter to 128 million head canceled out a two-pound loss for the average live weight to 287 pounds.

The USDA’s next set of red meat production projections for 2024 is out May 10th.

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